Monday, November 7, 2011
Is Eli Now Elite?
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Is Eli Manning an elite quarterback?
This has been the prevailing question posed by NFL pundits, analysts and the media. In September, on ESPN New York’s the Michael Kay Show, Manning proclaimed he should be mentioned in the same breath as world class signal caller Tom Brady. Manning, a Super Bowl XXXXII MVP has the hardware to support his claim, but his inconsistent play and soft spoken nature are traits critics point towards to dismiss this notion.
This past Sunday, Manning led Big Blue on not one, but two- fourth quarter touchdown drives in the final five minutes to lift the Giants past the Patriots 24-20. Manning atoned for a costly red zone interception early in the fourth quarter which allowed New England to tie the game 10-10. Manning’s late game heroics beg the question yet again does #10 belong amongst the NFL’s elite?
While Manning’s critics are mum this week, the million dollar question still seems to be up for debate. With the Giants facing a murderous second half schedule, and injuries plaguing the team, Manning will have to play at an elite level to keep New York in first place in the NFC East.
It’s never easy living in the shadow of an star older brother and in Eli’s case, eldest sibling Peyton has embraced the limelight while being anointed the league’s best quarterback on a regular basis.
With Eli looking to solidify his football legacy, can he rise above the cynicism and sibling rivalry to prove that he is deserving of elite status?
The story is still being written and the book is not closed on this debate, but Big Blue’s second half successes or failures will in all likelihood reveal whether Eli Manning belongs with amongst NFL’s best quarterbacks.